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US tests military exit routes out of Iraq

The American military is shipping battlefield equipment through Jordan and Kuwait, testing possible exit routes in advance of a US withdrawal in Iraq, military officials said.

world Updated: Feb 22, 2009 09:32 IST

The American military is shipping battlefield equipment through Jordan and Kuwait, testing possible exit routes in advance of a US withdrawal in Iraq, military officials said.

The convoys carrying armored vehicles, weapons and other items mark the Pentagon's first steps in confronting the complex logistics of transporting the huge arsenal stockpiled in Iraq over nearly six years.

It's also part of a wider assessment, ordered by US Central Command, to decide what items the military can transfer, donate, sell or toss away once a full-scale withdrawal is under way, Marine Corps and Army officials told The Associated Press.

"Because they are starting to see a potential reduction of forces, they are looking to get more stuff out," Terry Moores, the deputy assistant chief of staff for logistics for Marine Corps Central Command, said yesterday.

"We started slow," Moores said, but added "it's picked up speed" in recent months.

The Iraqi-US security pact, which took effect January 1, calls for American troops to withdraw from Iraq's cities by June 30 and completely pull out troops by 2012 a timeline that could speed up if President Barack Obama keeps to a campaign promise to have troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office.